In fall 2012 Coastal Law named faculty member Rosa DuBose as its Associate Dean of Experiential Learning to expand the school’s existing experiential learning programs, as well as to create new opportunities to further the law school’s commitment to prepare graduates for the practice of law.
DuBose, who will reach her 10-year anniversary with Coastal Law in August, accepted the position as an opportunity to become more involved with the students and to aid the growth of an area in legal education she is passionate about.
“We want to give them a head start on getting their legal work experience,” said DuBose. “We know from our research that experiential learning or legal work experience prior to graduation is the key to getting employment – particularly if they have 400+ hours. We want the students to be able to hit the ground running.”
Having already helped increase courses where students can get experience in multiple areas through two-week rotations of diverse topics, DuBose plans to grow all experiential programs including externship placements, the shadow program, pro bono opportunities, the research bureau, and the legal clinics.
“I have had many students come into the trial practice class who thought they wanted to be litigators,” said DuBose. “After they went through the course they would come to me and say ‘Dean DuBose, thank you for this opportunity, but now I know I don’t want to be a litigator – this is definitely not my thing.’ Experiential learning helps them know what their strengths and weaknesses are and what skills they have.”
Currently, Coastal Law allows students to take nine credit hours of externship work. DuBose is hoping to increase that number to potentially 18 credits (the highest that ABA allows) in order to give students the most comprehensive and diverse legal education possible before entering their field.
“In today’s market you don’t know where you’re going to end up,” said DuBose. “We obviously like to direct students toward their interests because we want them to be happy, but so many times you think you want to go into a certain area and then things in your life change. The broader experience we can give them in multiple areas of practice makes them more marketable. It helps them to develop those areas of practice in which they truly have an interest.”